Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Cortland, Illinois: The Small Town That Claims To Be Big
The most common tactics for small towns are attaching themselves to sports teams or famous people, touting obscure awards or distinctions the town received from organizations no one has ever heard of, or simply making a claim that no one can argue with, i.e., we're nice. I've long been enamored of these claims, but the oddest town boast I've ever seen is in the small town of Cortland, Illinois, about 60 miles west of Chicago.
At the time, the town's population was about 1,500 (it has since grown to more than 4,000 thanks to some recently built subdivisions) so I was puzzled. Of all the different ways this small community could market itself, it had decided to say to the world, "We're big."
When I arrived at my wife's family home, we sat out in her backyard, which at that time featured a pleasing view of nothing but farmland as far as the eye could see.
"So I saw the sign about this being the third largest town," I said. "How could that be?"
"Well, it's kind of a technicality," my wife said, laughing knowingly as she eyed her mom and sister. "There aren't very many towns in Illinois."
As it turns out, nearly every community in Illinois is incorporated as either a village or a city so the only incorporated "towns" in the state that are larger than Cortland are Normal and Cicero. The "third largest town" claim to fame is the town's brand - check out the town website and you'll see the slogan emblazoned right underneath the town name. So there you have it: Cortland, the small town that claims to be quite large, if only on a technicality.